Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

Geeky Linkdump

20 question for Donald Knuth, of which I found Robert Tarjan's the most interesting. Knuth's response (in part):

In general I'm looking for more focus on algorithms that work fast with respect to problems whose size, n, is feasible. Most of today's literature is devoted to algorithms that are asymptotically great, but they are helpful only when n exceeds the size of the universe...

For instance, I've been reading about algorithms that decide whether or not a given graph G belongs to a certain class. Is G, say, chordal? You and others discovered some great algorithms for the chordality and minimum fillin problems, early on, and an enormous number of extremely ingenious procedures have subsequently been developed for characterizing the graphs of other classes. But I've been surprised to discover that very few of these newer algorithms have actually been implemented. They exist only on paper, and often with details only sketched.

I was annoyed at the recent New Scientist article making the rounds about a "proof" of how computers couldn't be conscious under Integrated Information Theory, so I'm glad Scott Aaronson took the time to show why IIT is bunk and saved me some ranting.

My company announced support for storing Hyper-V VMs on the Tintri VMstore bringing our total number of supported hypervisors to three, perilously close to the maximum possible. :) Only Openstack and Xen to go (well, and perhaps a few other KVM variants.) Chris Wahl posted a great review of Tintri at "Tom's IT Pro".

Bruce Schneier points out that the NSA is not magic. We've seen a lot of standard hacks carried out at industrial scale, or from privileged positions within the network, but not an Enigma-scale (or, well, Magic) breakthrough. I'm not sure this is cause for optimism; rather, it speaks poorly about the state of communications security that the NSA doesn't need such breakthroughs to do its job.

And, finally, one of my own pieces of writing on Quora: What mathematical functions can convert multiplication to summation? The previous answers were mainly literal-minded "only logarithms work among continuous functions" references rather than coming up with something that might be more interesting to somebody that's curious, like non-logarithmic slide rules.
Tags: geek
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